Cubs

Lyons rallies to knock off Sandburg

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Lyons rallies to knock off Sandburg

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
12:23 AM

By Pat DiSabato
YourSeason.com

Trailing 17-7 late in the first half, Lyons quarterback Brian Kelley never wavered in his belief his team would register the victory on Friday night.

His faith was rewarded when the Lions outscored Sandburg 14-3 over the next 31:40 and posted a thrilling 21-20 victory in a Class 8A second-round battle in Western Springs.

Lyons (10-1) advances to play Mount Carmel (9-2) in the quarterfinals.

Of course, Kelley was instrumental in the comeback win, completing 10 of 14 passes for 119 yards and rushing for an additional 79 yards on 19 carries.

I knew we would come back, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior said. We have the best offensive line in the state. We just had to get behind them and move the football.

Kelley ignited the rally with a 1-yard touchdown run with two seconds remaining in the half that cut the deficit to 17-14 after Mike Petts point-after kick.

The Lions carried that momentum into the second half. But not before Sandburgs Taylor Zalewski split the uprights from 32 yards out for a 20-14 advantage with 1:44 remaining in the third quarter.

The Eagles six-point lead lasted all of 48 seconds. The Lions put together a three-play drive, capped by Jaime Jones 2-yard touchdown and Petts PAT for a 21-20 edge with 56.2 seconds remaining in the third.

Kelley hit Chris Klotz with a clutch 33-yard pass that set up the game-winning score.

We didnt doubt that wed come back, said Jones, who finished with 97 yards on 21 carries. Brian has a switch that he just seems to turn on. Hes a great leader.

The defeat was a tough one to swallow for Sandburg (8-3). The Eagles used a 5-yard TD run by Chris Gomez (5 yards), a 44-yard field goal by Zalewski and an 18-yard TD pass from Cody Miller to Tres Oliver to open up the 17-7 advantage. Oliver also completed a 40-yard halfback-option pass to a diving Javonte Keys that set up the Eagles third score of the half.

However, Sandburgs offensive firepower pretty much was nonexistent in the second half. Being whistled for 55 yards in penalties didnt help the cause. Lyons, on the flip side, was called for just 20 yards in penalties.

Miller completed 9 of 13 passes for 122 yards. Gomez led a balanced ground attack, recording 62 yards on 10 carries, while Jermell Harris (eight carries, 46 yards) and Brandon Gomez (six carries, 38 yards) helped keep the chains moving.

We didnt make the adjustment at the half we needed to make, Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal said. So we were making adjustment on the fly in the second half.

The Eagles had one last chance to win the game, taking over on their own 20 with 5:21 to go. Sandburg advanced the ball to its own 42, needing approximately 25 yards to give the strong-legged Zalewski a chance to attempt a 50-yard field goal. But some questionable play-calling sent the Eagles backward, where they would turn the ball over on downs from their own 38.

This was a great group of seniors, Wierzal said. They have a lot to be proud of.

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

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USA Today

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

Joe Maddon needed Mike Montgomery to get through at least six innings given the circumstances presenting the Cubs' manager before Game 2 of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Not only were the Cubs short a man in the bullpen (thanks to Brandon Morrow’s pants-related back injury), but Maddon had to use four relievers — including Pedro Strop for two innings — after Tyler Chatwood managed only five innings in Game 1 earlier in the afternoon. 

So when Montgomery — who had only thrown over 100 pitches once in the last two and a half seasons before Tuesday — saw his pitch count sit at 40 after two innings, and then 63 after three, he knew he needed to regroup to avoid creating a mess for the Cubs’ bullpen. 

What followed was a start that, statistically, wasn’t the most impressive of the five Montgomery’s made since re-joining the Cubs’ rotation earlier this year. But it was an important start in that the 28-year-old left-hander didn’t have his best stuff, yet didn’t give in to a good Dodgers lineup. And holding that bunch to one run over six innings was exactly what the Cubs needed in what turned out to be a 2-1 extra-inning win. 

“Especially when you don’t have have your best stuff, you always gotta — that’s when you really learn how to pitch,” Montgomery said. 

It’s also the kind of start that could be a major point in Montgomery’s favor when Maddon is presented with a decision to make on his starting rotation whenever Yu Darvish comes off the disabled list. Knowing that Montgomery can grind his way through six innings when his team needs it the most without his best stuff only can add to the confidence the Cubs have in him. 

Montgomery didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday, issuing more walks (four) than he had in his previous four starts (three). He threw 48 pitches between the second and third innings, and only 25 of those pitches were strikes. Of the nine times the Dodgers reached base against Montgomery, six were the result of fastballs either leading to a walk or a hit. 

Even though the Dodgers were able to bother Montgomery a bit on his fastball, Maddon said that’s the pitch of his that’s impressed him the most over the last few weeks. 

“He never got rushed,” Maddon said. “In the past he would seem to get rushed when things weren’t going well, when he spot-started. Overall, fastball command is better — even though he was off a little bit tonight, the fastball command still exceeds what I’ve seen in the past couple of years on a more consistent basis. The changeup, really, good pitch. He got out of some jams but I think the fact that he knows where his fastball is going now is the difference-maker for him.”

Darvish will throw a simulated game on Wednesday after throwing two bullpen sessions last week. Maddon still doesn’t have a timetable for the $126 million right-hander’s return, and said he’s not entertaining what to do with his rotation until Darvish comes off the disabled list. But Maddon did mention Montgomery’s relative lack of an innings load — the most he’s thrown in a season in 130 2/3, which he did in 2017 — as a reason to perhaps not rush him into a permanent starting role the rest of the season. Going to a six-man rotation is a possibility, too, Maddon said. 

But the over-arching point is this: Montgomery will remain in the Cubs’ rotation as long as he keeps earning it. That can be the product of strong outings in which he has good stuff, or games like Tuesday in which he shows the Cubs the kind of resiliency most starters need to get through a full season. 

“I pitch well, good things happen,” Montgomery said. “I’ve always thought that. Opportunities, you just gotta make the most of them.”

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 28th + 29th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 28th + 29th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

For the second time in 1998, Sosa went back-to-back games with multiple home runs. After going yard twice on June 19 of that season, Slammin' Sammy again sent two balls into the bleachers on June 20.

He singlehandedly beat the Phillies that night, driving in 5 runs in a 9-4 Cubs victory.

But that wasn't the most impressive feat of the day from Sosa. His second homer was actually measured at a whopping 500 feet! It was the longest of the season, but not the longest of his career. On June 24, 2003, Sosa hit a homer at Wrigley measured at 511 feet.

The back-to-back big games raised Sosa's season OPS to 1.083 with a ridiculous .685 slugging percentage. He began June 1998 with a .608 slugging percentage.

Fun fact: Kerry Wood struck out 11 batters in 7.1 innings on June 20, 1998 to pick up his 7th big-league victory. As Wood marched to the National League Rookie of the Year that season, he finished with a 13-6 record and 233 strikeouts in only 166.2 innings for a career-high 12.6 K/9 rate.